To the Editor:
Just who do these teachers think they are, going on strike, not doing what the B.C. Liberals tell them to do, demanding working conditions that will provide a better education for all children in B.C., not just those in private schools, and asking for pay that is commensurate with qualifications requiring a four-year university education and variable hours of work and multitasking?
So what if teachers are responsible for the safety, well-being and social conduct of children for as many hours of weekdays as their parents are and can be role models as effectively as anyone? And so what if they often work after supper marking tests, learning how to teach something new or filling out report cards?
Our B.C. Liberals have told us that in spite of inflation causing constantly increasing prices, all wages have to be kept down to protect the economy, and having a good public education system would cost more than our economy could handle. So even after 11 years of cost-cutting, what really matters is that we all do as directed by the economic experts we elected because they were the only ones able to save B.C. from recession. You know the ones: Gordon, Campbell, Christy Clark and others.
They displayed their economic expertise starting in 2001 by reducing taxes on the wealthy in order to increase revenue and jobs, reduced support to government services, set the record for child poverty and increased the B.C. debt from $32 billion to $60 billion between 2001 and 2009 while everyone else was making money. They then tried to increase tax revenue from the workforce by sliding in the HST, and now people who can afford to build their own personal $850,000 vacation home in the country will get a $42,500 HST rebate.
Keeping taxes low for the wealthy and wages low for the rest of us seems to be the Liberal key to a successful economy. They expect it will increase sales and market growth, even in the housing industry. With all that evidence of economic expertise, why don’t teachers just do what their glorious leaders tell them to?
I was flabbergasted several years ago when the Liberals tore up their agreement with the teachers’ union. MLAs don’t have the authority to arbitrarily cancel a legal agreement, and, amazingly, it took a few years for a judicial process to tell them that. However, governments can rewrite legislation, and our present right-wing governments have not hesitated to endow themselves with greater authority by doing that. Unless the rights are protected in the Constitution or bill of rights, conservatives like Christy Clark can, step by step, take rights away from the sheep and give them to shepherds.